Kenyon Industries

Kenyon Industries Physical Testing Laboratory is Certified to ISO 9001:2008

Company Profile

Kenyon Industries is a leading finisher of woven nylon fabric for many diversified end uses for the consumer, industrial and military markets. Kenyon is known as the finest sail cloth finisher in the world, from main sail, to spinnaker to insignia fabrics. Kenyon also is a large supplier of flag and banner fabric, particularly Old Glory Red, White and Blue nylon fabric for the American flag. Kenyon’s parent company, Brookwood Companies, is the largest supplier to the military of nylon fabric, most of which is processed at Kenyon.

Situation – Lab Tests Needed to Be Produced ISO Certified Lab

Kenyon has a physical testing lab necessary to test finished fabric to the customer’s specification. The company is a leading finisher of over 60 types of military fabric from basic duffle bag fabric to high performance fabric such as camouflage printed and coated fabric for military tents and shelters. All fabrics produced to a military contract must meet contract specifications for many fabric performance characteristics such as tear strength, water resistance, breathability, breaking strength, shrinkage, and many others. Most military fabrics have as many as 20 physical test requirements that must be met using prescribed test methods developed by the ASTM (American Society for Testing Methods), AATCC (American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists), and FTMS (Federal Test Method Standards). In late 2009, certain government contracts began to include a provision that all lab test reports must be produced by an ISO certified testing lab. Kenyon’s lab was not ISO certified.

Solution – ISO 9001:2008

The solution was obvious; attain ISO accreditation. But it is extremely difficult for small or medium sized companies to afford the type of staff necessary to embark on such an endeavor. Consulting services are generally extremely expensive and out of reach of companies like Kenyon. Instead Kenyon’s President, Joanne Bagley, contacted Polaris MEP (formerly RIMES, Rhode Island Manufacturing Extension Services). A non-profit receiving partial funding through the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST), Polaris provides expert training and consulting services at affordable rates. “With the help of John Gilheeney of (Polaris) we were able to take on the ISO certification challenge and meet it successfully,” states Bagley.

Results – Retain Business

“On September 29, 2010 Kenyon Industries received official notification of our accreditation to the ISO 9001:2008 standard. This is a huge accomplishment!” exclaims Bagley. Kenyon’s lab certification has resulted in the retention of valuable business. Two contracts alone, involved 81 government lot presentations requiring test reports which Kenyon could not have produced without ISO certification. Losing these two contracts would have meant eliminating one full-time lab technician. Most important, though, is Kenyon’s ability to produce lab reports in a timely and economical manner for their customers. “Our internal turnaround time is 3.5 days,” notes Bagley. “Utilizing an outside lab, test results can take up to two weeks to obtain. This would not be satisfactory to our customers, would increase costs, and most likely result in loss of business.”

Testimonial

“With the help of John Gilheeney (Polaris MEP) we were able to take on the ISO certification challenge and meet it successfully.”

– Joanne Bagley, President